Footsteps Nursery opened in 2004 and operates from a purpose built building located in the Minto Centre, Westfield. Since Footsteps Nursery opened its doors in 2004 we have continued to develop, meeting the demands of our children and families by enhancing our provision. Within the ethos of our nursery we have sensitively expanded our original provision both indoors and out.
Outdoors we continually strive to further develop the already excellent outdoor provision. We have created a fantastic New Zealand sand pit, which is used by all the children, a covered pergola area allowing free-flow play for the youngest children, a Buzz Tower and Story Tellers Area has enriched the pre-school garden.
"The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky" (McMillan 1919)
We are guided by The Early Years Foundation Stage framework and all staff work closely with our own team of Early Year Practitioner/Teacher’s as well as Cumbria County Council Early Years and Childcare Advisors to ensure we enable our children to achieve their full potential. All of our children are cared for by a team of highly qualified, experienced early year’s professionals (all staff are qualified to level 3 and above) in an environment which has been carefully designed to meet the needs of all our children. We are committed to providing high quality, affordable and accessible childcare for in a safe, caring creative environment.
We operate a Key Worker system which aims to provide your child with his/her special adult ensuring consistency of care. Our vision has always been to provide a warm, caring environment where you and your children feel safe, welcome, valued and respected. We promise to support each individual child enabling them to reach their full potential, allowing them to develop at their own pace with particular regard to individuality.
Based on this inspirational quote we ensure that all our children have access free-flow play at all times. Ofsted reported that ‘children throughout the nursery show a strong exploratory approach as they freely choose to play indoors or outside.’
In 2014 our final extension was completed providing a further 26 nursery education places for those children age 3&4 years old accessing the free 15 hour Nursery Education Grant. Here at Footsteps Nursery we are able to offer these hours flexibly meeting the needs individual needs of our parents/carers.
Footsteps Nursery is owned by Westfield Housing Association and is a ‘Not for Profit’ making organisation. We are committed to empowering our staff to totally embrace Continuous Professional Development (CPD). The staff are constantly challenged with the task of achieve a high standard of education within the early years sector; we currently have a high percentage of our staff team who have achieved their Early Years Professional/Teacher (EYP/EYT) Status. There is something very reassuring about knowing that your child is being cared for by highly qualified childcare practitioners who are completely up-to-date with the Early Years Foundation Stage and committed to continuous professional development.
Staff recognise that no other adult can know as much about this small new person as the parent does and in the beginning the early years practitioner must depend on the parents knowledge in helping the child settle happily into the Nursery. With this in mind, childcare practitioners are encouraged to communicate, listen and encourage parents to interact within the setting. It is important to us that all our parents feel listened to, respected and above all else very welcome.
Following the last Ofsted inspection, Footsteps was awarded "Outstanding" in all areas for the third time reporting that: "Teaching is outstanding. The staffs understanding of the educational philosophy they apply in the nursery is excellent and effectively meets the needs and interests of all the children attending. Children make excellent progress from their identified initial starting points, including those who have special educational needs or disabilities." (Ofsted Nov 2018)
A leading early years author once proclaimed ‘There can be little doubt that the education of the very young provides an essential foundation for all that follows, and the nature of that education is critical, Tina Bruce 2012
In 2014 Footsteps Nursery was awarded its second consecutive outstanding award by Offsted. Determined to keep improving practice, the staff team have been researching aspects of early year’s theory which impacts on modern day practice. Fredrick Froebal (1782 – 1852) the German educationalist is best known for creating the ‘kindergarten system’. Froebel firmly believed that children learn through spontaneous play. He sought to encourage the creation of educational environments that encourage children to play and develop independence in a safe environment.
The similarities between our current ethos and Froebelian beliefs are so strong that we have adopted many of his principles. Froebel believed that, when children engage with the world, understanding unfolds. Our children are encouraged to choose for themselves, decide whether or not they would like to work indoors or out, pour their own milk, serve their own lunch, work in the workshop, paint, work with clay, garden, and much more all under the caring supervision of highly qualified adults. Each of these activities offers the opportunity to develop independence and self-esteem.
There is a strong emphasis on play both indoors and out – both aspects of our work are central to Froebel’s philosophy and to children’s well-being today. Froebel represents a thinking tradition, through which practitioners continue to develop their understanding and effectiveness. The significance and necessity of play may not seem exceptional today, thanks to Fredrick Froebel and other theorists that followed in his image it has entered the common sense of early years practice.
The six Froebelian principles we follow are
- The integrity of childhood in its own right
- The relationship of every child to family, community and to nature, culture and society
- The uniqueness of every child's capacity and potential
- The holistic nature of the development of every child
- The role of play and creativity as central integrating elements in development and learning
- The right of children to protection and the promotion of their overall well-being
Our primary concern is always the wellbeing, happiness and holistic development of each individual child, surrounded by peace and love; ensuring the best possible start in life. Why not consider the opportunity to choose a Froebelian nursery for your child.